The Hitwoman Owes A Favor
Confessions of a Slightly Neurotic Hitwoman Book 25
Maggie Lee may be an inept hitwoman, but she pays her debts.
When Maggie told her friend Mia that she’d help her out of any mess she found herself in, she meant it. Of course they’d both been fifteen at the time.
Maggie hasn’t seen Mia in forever, until she suddenly shows up, intent on holding Maggie to her promise. Mia’s husband has disappeared, taking their money with him and she desperately needs it.
While Maggie has other things to worry about, namely protecting her father from whoever is trying to kill him, Mia makes it impossible for her to not reciprocate the favor.
Bound by a pinky swear, Maggie tracks down Mia’s soon-to-be-ex but doing so puts her at odds with the guys who have her back: Patrick, Zeke and Gino.
If Maggie’s not careful, her long-ago promise could have deadly consequences…especially since her psychic friend has predicted she’s going to die.
You just know it’s going to be a bad day when you wake up to the words, “Death is coming for you.”
For a second, I thought I was having a nightmare and my friend Armani Vasquez was trying to warn me. I waved her off, eager to return to the dream I’d been having about diving into a vat of chocolate pudding.
“Do you hear me, chica?” Armani yelled. “You are going to die.”
I forced my eyes open and realized it wasn’t a dream. She was standing over my bed, face contorted with worry.
“Huh?” I muttered, hoping I’d heard her wrong in my half-awake state.
“Die are you to going,” DeeDee, my Doberman pinscher taking up half the bed, supplied helpfully. She licked my hand, as though she was paying her last respects.
Armani grabbed my shoulder and gave me a good shake, making sure I would be alert enough to understand her proclamation of doom and gloom. “You are going to die!”
I blinked at her, not knowing what to say.
“Die! Die! Die!” Benny, the white mouse, yelled from his temporary home.
“I don’t think that’s helping,” Piss, my one-eyed cat, purred at the mouse. She kneaded my chest, trying to offer me comfort about my impending death, but all she was succeeding in doing was pricking me with her claws.
I sat up, under the guise of talking to Armani, but really to get the cat to stop poking me. “Good morning.”
“It’s not good.” My friend sat down heavily on the bed, her bad leg making the move a challenging maneuver.
I had to squirm to stay out of her way.
“Ouch,” Matilda, the pig at the foot of the bed, complained as I accidentally kicked her in the head in my attempt to not have Armani sit on me.
Armani hung her head. “You’re going to die.”
I shook my head. “No, I’m not.”
My friend scowled at me. “Am I ever wrong? Have you ever known me to be wrong?”
I shrugged, unsure of how to answer. She wasn’t usually wrong per se, but her predictions were often misleading.
“All living beings die,” God, the anole lizard, intoned solemnly from his terrarium. At my niece Katie’s insistence, I’d recently bought him a new glass enclosure, complete with an oversized piece of driftwood. He perched on top of it, using his vantage point to survey the scene.
“Today? Today? Today?” the mouse asked, running around in agitated circles inside a shoebox.
“That’s actually a decent question,” God said. “It didn’t need to be repeated twice, but it’s a good question. Ask her.”
“Am I going to die today?” I asked Armani.
“How should I know?”
“You’re the psychic,” I reminded her.
“The message isn’t always one hundred percent clear,” she admitted absentmindedly, scratching the back of Matilda, who, having been inadvertently kicked off the bed, had wandered over, looking for attention.
“How am I going to die?” I yawned.
She shook her head. “Not clear.” She grabbed my hand. “But you’re in danger. I know it.”
I nodded slowly. I’m in danger on a fairly regular basis. That’s what happens when you’re a paid assassin for a mob boss and caught in the clutches of a mysterious organization. Someone’s pretty much always trying to do me harm.
But I didn’t tell my friend that. She may be psychic, or at least semi-psychic, but she doesn’t seem to have a clue about my extracurricular activities. I gave her what I hoped was a reassuring smile and said, “I’ll be careful.”
She let out a frustrated sigh. “I’ll try to get you some more information.”
I nodded. A time, place, or method of death could be helpful to know. “Anything else bothering you?”
She gave a one-shoulder shrug. “My business partner is not happy with me.”
“Which one?” I asked. Armani is in business with a couple of people, including a former dog catcher turned decorator.
“Loretta. She’s pissed I fired the dancers.”
I nodded sympathetically. My aunt Loretta had seemed unusually attached to the two skanky male dancers she’d hired to perform outside of her lingerie shop, The Corset. Personally, I’d found them to be both pathetic and repulsive, but there’s no accounting for taste…or a lack thereof.
“I’m afraid she’s going to make Soulful and Sinful’s first day on the job difficult. Can you talk to her?”
“I can try,” I agreed. After all, I’d been the one to recommend that Armani interview the singing drag queens. The least I could do was try to smooth things over with Loretta for them.
“Thanks.” She made a pouty face. “I feel kind of bad asking for your help with that when you’re going to die.”
“Maybe it’ll be my last good deed on Earth,” I joked.
“How can you be so casual about it?” she asked. “If somebody told me I was going to die, I’d freak.”
“As a wise friend once said, all living beings die,” I told her. “If my time’s up…”
Tears filled her eyes, and she looked away. She awkwardly got off the bed, taking care not to put weight on her bad leg. “I don’t want you to die,” she muttered, limping out of the room.
“You made Armani cry,” Matilda accused, waddling out after her, making sympathetic snuffling sounds.
With a sigh, I collapsed back onto my pillow, already exhausted by the day that had just started.
DeeDee stuck her face in mine. “Die want don’t you I to.”
I tried not to breathe as she huffed her doggy breath at me.
“No one wants her to die,” Piss said, starting to knead me again.
I knew she meant well, but her claws hurt. “Nobody’s going to die today,” I said, throwing off the covers and sitting up so that I could reclaim my personal space from the dog and cat.
“You don’t know that,” God pointed out. “And don’t think that I missed that you admitted I’m wise.” He puffed out his dewlap, an orange flap of skin under his throat, self-importantly.
“You’re never going to live that one down, sugar,” Piss purred. “He’s going to lord it over you forever.”
“Not if she dies,” God snapped back at the cat.
“Hungry!” DeeDee barked, apparently having had enough of the death conversation.
I was grateful for the distraction from my impending end. I gave her a big smile and a pat on the top of her head. “Let’s go see if we can find you something to eat.”
“And if Templeton will give me cream,” Piss cried greedily, jumping off the bed and racing out of the room.
DeeDee followed on her heels.
“Fine,” God muttered. “Feed the furries.”
“Are you hungry?” I asked, thinking I could ask Piss to catch a cricket for him.
“That’s not the point,” he harrumphed.
I squinted at him, hearing an unusual level of stress in his tone. “Is something bothering you?”
He gave me one of his unblinking stares. “You’re going to die.”
“What will happen to us? What will happen—” Benny began.
“Silence!” God thundered.
Considering he’s only a few inches big, he’s got an impressive tone when he’s upset. The mouse fell silent.
Surprised that the lizard was giving Armani’s prediction so much credence, I frowned. “You believe her?”
“I believe that you’re in great danger, Maggie Lee.”